Hanu Man (2024)

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Hanu Man (2024)

Director – Prasanth Varma

Cast – Teja Sajja, Amritha Aiyer, Varalaxmi Sarathkumar, Vinay Rai, Vennela Kishore, Getup Srinu, Satya, Samuthirakani

What additional information and actions can be shown in superhero movies? Don’t we already know everything about them? Apart from traditional comic book superheroes, we also have our own larger-than-life male characters in movies who are nothing short of being superheroes; they can send men flying with a kick, beat them to pulp, mobilise villages, radicalise cities and speak for the voiceless. Humans by birth, superheroes by script logic that defies reason but demands awe. And then there are gods from the pages of our mythology. Tales of power that shape a civilization’s cultural DNA. Source of courage and contention. Different heroes but still heroes. Hanu Man promises to combine these three shades of superhero into one. The success of Hanu Man is when this promise is kept upto its expected end points through competent writing backed up by performances. The film is an honest tale delivered right on time. And getting it right is important in films like this.

But before we get to meet the protagonist we are introduced to the antagonist first. In a brief origin story very reminiscent of The Incredibles (2004), we see someone turn villain out of his sheer want to be a superhero. So many scenes wherein a positive wholesome story just takes an about turn and then Anjanadri happens, Anjanadri being what I assume to be a fictional town inspired by the mythical land of Anjanadri which is said to be Lord Hanuman’s birthplace or something like that. Anyway! So myth comes before events; hangs over events eventually like some omniscient shadow you know… But yeah so now we see Hanumanthu (Teja Sajja).

The common rogue. The village pest. The butt of every joke. To someone sitting in the audience, it might feel like a wrong move to make a relatively new actor like Teja Sajja play a superhero. Wait, sorry! Let me rephrase that last sentence. To an average member of the audience who’s watching this movie, seeing someone as new as Teja Sajja play such an iconic role could feel like a misstep or whatever You know? I guess one could attribute Teja being cast here to his previous collaboration with director Prasanth Varma (they worked together on 2021’s Zombie Reddy) but I don’t know if that would necessarily be true.

Definitely not because I think maybe the film had a smaller budget and they couldn’t afford to bring in any bigger stars or anything like that no way! I mean look at all these other movies where they’ve got like tons of big-ticket heroes playing all these larger-than-life roles with their own unique quirks & characteristics which is undoubtedly great fun for us as audiences because it gives them so many different things to do on screen but also poses certain challenges for each individual filmmaker involved in making those kinds of movies themselves though right? Don’t forget about how even though most people tend to love underdog stories there are still some popular actors who may not be able to effectively portray one due simply because they have too much star power behind them already & etcetera.

What I’m trying say is basically this Hanumanthu is not your typical ‘chosen one’ superhero character who starts off weak but then gradually gets stronger throughout the course of their story until eventually becoming very powerful by end credits roll nope! In fact there isn’t really any indication whatsoever showing us that he has greatness within him prior seeing scene where he does something heroic or whatever, you know what I mean? Alright, so despite seeing these glimpses of him being heroic in teaser/trailer film makes you wait for it! And the only way to get to those high points is by keeping you interested through various conflicts. You know how when we watch a sports underdog story we’re still all anxious and biting our nails even though it’s obvious that team we’ve been following throughout movie will eventually win the big game at end credits roll? That’s Hanumanthu for ya!

Telugu cinema heroes down the line have received poorly written screenplays where they win too early without realizing the timeless worth of delayed gratification. Hanu Man breaks this thankless mold by reminding viewers that even a superhero has to sing for its supper. Teja Sajja makes Hanumanthu a darling underdog worth rooting for.

Hanumanthu draws his superpowers of immense physical strength from a sacred pearl formed from one drop of Hanuman’s blood. Yet these powers are not without their glitches. There are two types of enemies that threaten Anjanadri’s safety. An enemy of an enemy is a friend, but this adage is proved right by Hanu Man, though not between the parties you expect to eventually collide. There is also enough comedy, courtesy characters played by Vennela Kishore, Getup Srinu and Satya. Placing comedy here feels slightly tricky at first, being a superhero film, but doubts clear when the comic portions work.

In Hanu Man there is one scene where Hanumanthu mimics actors across contemporary Telugu cinema to prove his superhero prowess. Just as you roll your eyes at the writers opting for some low-hanging fruit jokes in this movie… They actually use a gag involving Balakrishna as an effective plot point! Though Michael (Vinay Rai) crossing paths with Hanumanthu was inevitable, the story pulls enough tricks (and troughs) to keep you engaged till end credits roll – trust us on that one folks! A surprise touchy feely angle involving older sister who we thought had nothing going for her emotionally speaking gives second half much needed depth in an otherwise light hearted mythological action adventure rom com flick like ‘Hanu Man’. It doesn’t go too deep into mythology but just enough so everyone can follow along regardless of their knowledge base or lack thereof.

For being touted as PVCU’s (Prasanth Varma Cinematic Universe) inaugural offering, Hanu Man doesn’t cheat its audience by ending on a ‘to be continued’ note. In fact not having a strong cliffhanger is refreshing relief that every franchise should learn from when starting out – but you know how these things go… The people behind this film also deserve credit for keeping things traditionally Tollywood; both songs here, one romantic and another grandmothers singing while pickling mangoes anthem are all heart no matter which way ya slice it! As far as direction goes though, there is some craftiness inspired by none other than Rajamouli himself in terms of storytelling style employed throughout most scenes without feeling like mere imitation or wannabe stuff. Few flaws prevent movie from being truly great yet they don’t hinder anyone’s enjoyment either.

Film’s VFX (though better than recent times) still spoon-feeds certain details. For instance, the x-ray cartilage of people getting punched or glowing outline around our titular character could’ve been left out. With how much satisfaction it manages to deliver on almost all fronts, one can’t help but be forgiving towards such nitpicks in hopes that these points will be taken into account for future installments within Prasanth Varma’s own backyard franchise before moving onto other projects altogether. But until then let me tell ya folks – just like an underdog always does – “Hanu Man” shines through as not just another participant at sankranthi race but rather THE frontrunner!

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